Conservationism and farming in North Queensland, 1861-1970

Frazer, Ian (2003) Conservationism and farming in North Queensland, 1861-1970. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This is a study of the ideas behind natural resource use in North Queensland. I argue that settlers followed an implicit code which valued caring for, as well as exploiting the land. The earliest settlers took pride in being pioneers who conquered, reshaped and harnessed Nature. Later generations could not claim this status, but found virtue in hard work and practicing a frugal, “tread-lightly” form of stewardship. Legislators promoted the settlement of the coastal strip with morally charged rhetoric: to secure the North for White Australia, to render the wilderness bountiful and produce contented human beings, away from dehumanising cities. North Queensland’s conservation activists of the 1960s advocated a different vision to that of closer-settlement enthusiasts, yet they shared an ideal of a restorative working relationship between human beings and Nature. Naturalists in Cairns and Townsville in the 1930s and 40s had exercised public advocacy for conservation based on a sense of custodianship for native flora and fauna. Activists of the 1960s extended their stewardship to the North’s rain forests and the Great Barrier Reef. The farmers’ stewardship and state’s piecemeal land-management and nature-conservation laws both seem to have assumed a safety net supplied by Nature entwined with Providence. In contrast, the activists acted on a belief held by some conservationists since the 1870s, reinforced by evidence of damage since World War II, that Nature was being irreparably damaged and must be rescued.

Item ID: 78
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: stewardship, advocacy, farming, grazing, north Queensland, natural resources, conservation
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2010 01:07
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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